27th January, 2024: South West HXR members perform ‘climate inquest’ in Plymouth

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A group of HXR members, along with other health professionals, Plymouth’s climate choir, local people and South West XR groups performed a ‘climate inquest’ in central Plymouth today. The aim of this performance was to sound the alarm about the terrible impact of the climate emergency on people’s health in the UK and across the world, and the role of fossil fuel companies in driving this. The performance sought to emphasise the role of Barclay’s Bank, which pumps billions of pounds into fossil fuel funding each year, despite knowing for decades the harm and millions of deaths they are causing (Scientific American, 2015)

They group also highlighted the role of our government in continuing to subsidise and licence new oil and gas, rather than investing in cheaper, green energy.

Following a performance inside Drake’s Circus shopping centre, the group performed again at the City Centre sundial. Health professionals tended to a group of ‘fallen’ shrouded patients and laid flowers. They then gave testimony to a ‘coroner’ as to how the climate and ecological emergency contributes to each of the causes of these deaths, laying headstones which indicated the number of deaths from each cause.  This included the 40,000 UK deaths and 6 million global deaths every year caused by air pollution (Fuller, 2020), the 500,000 deaths each year from extreme heat (Zhoa. 2021), the 43,000 who died from the climate-change associated drought and famine in Somalia last year (WHO/Unicef, 2021), and UK deaths from malnutrition as floods and drought cause crop failure and steep rises in food prices.  A scientist also gave evidence about the climate emergency, explaining how the burning of fossil fuels is driving the rise in global temperatures and extreme weather events.

After a minute’s silence in memory of all these lost lives, and the singing of a Hebridean Mourning song by the local climate choir, the group presented the possibility of a more positive alternative future – by urgently stopping the extraction and burning of new fossil fuels, protecting forests and the environment and investing in cheaper, renewables and insulation the very worst of the crisis could be prevented and, alongside this, bring major health benefits

Press coverage: https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/local-news/climate-protesters-stage-mock-deaths-9062121 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-68117088;

BBC Spotlight (2.04 mins) https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m001vw3d/spotlight-evening-news-27012024